Poll results released late Wednesday by Public Policy Polling reported Colorado voters favor banning assault weapons, with 58 percent supporting a ban and 35 percent opposing. Those survey results are supported by results released the same day by Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS, which reported that 58 percent of likely Colorado voters also favor a national ban on high-capacity clips and magazines.
“That is great news,” said State Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver. “The poll results give me more confidence that Colorado voters don’t think assault weapons need to be available to people other than police officers or those in the military.
“There is really no use for these weapons other than to kill as many people as possible, so I am very pleased. This is encouraging,” she said about the results from the PPP poll.
McCann previously told The Colorado Independent she may introduce legislation regulating assault weapons and ammunition in the next session of the Colorado Legislature.
The New York Times poll also asked whether people generally favor stricter gun laws, and on that question 38 percent of Colorado voters favored stricter laws, while 50 percent said the laws should remain the same.
Asked to explain why people would say they do not favor stricter gun laws but then say they do favor banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, PPP polling analyst Jim Williams told The Colorado Independent that, as in all polling, it comes down to how the questions are drafted.
“If you ask a really broad question like ‘Do you think gun laws should be more restrictive?’ people think of the worst case scenario, where people’s hunting rifles would be taken away. But if you ask a more precise question, such as one dealing with assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, then they think more critically,” he said.
Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, said asking general questions about gun laws is “worthless.”
“Most people don’t know what our gun laws are. Most people think we’ve already banned assault weapons. When they find out that semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines are legal, they are astounded. These polls show strong support for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” she said by phone.
“Given the fact that the gun debate in this country is controlled by the gun lobby, it is interesting that people still come to the conclusion that we should ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” she said.
Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s campaign spokesperson told the Independent that the congressman continues to support both The Second Amendment right to bear arms and bans on assault weapons.
“Ed supports the Second Amendment, and he supports the reinstatement of the Assault Weapons ban,” wrote Communications Director Leslie Oliver in an email. “It is time for Congress to get serious about sensible crime control measures.”
According to the PPP poll, Colorado Democrats support reinstating the assault weapon ban 84-12, and unaffiliated voters support the ban 52-41. Republicans opposed an assault weapons ban 53-38.
In other PPP results, Coloradans support Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana 47-38, and they support civil unions by 57-37.
1981: The Attempted Assassination Of President Ronald Reagan
on March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head.
1993: The Brady Handgun Violence Act
The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, mandated that federally licensed dealers complete comprehensive background checks on individuals before selling them a gun. The legislation was named for James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, instituted a ban on 19 kinds of assault weapons, including Uzis and AK-47s. The crime bill also banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. (An exemption was made for weapons and magazines manufactured prior to the ban.)
2004: Law Banning Magazines Holding More Than Ten Rounds Of Ammunition Expires
In 2004, ten years after it first became law, Congress allowed a provision banning possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition to expire through a sunset provision. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke told HuffPost that the expiration of this provision meant that Rep. Gabby Giffords's alleged shooter was able to fire off 20-plus shots without reloading (under the former law he would have had only ten).
2007: The U.S. Court of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Rules In Favor Of Dick Heller
In 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to allow Dick Heller, a licensed District police officer, to keep a handgun in his home in Washington, D.C. Following that ruling, the defendants petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
2008: The NICS Improvement Amendments Act
Following the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, Congress passed legislation to require states provide data on mentally unsound individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, with the aim of halting gun purchases by the mentally ill, and others prohibited from possessing firearms. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in January of 2008.
2008: Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban As Unconstitutional
In June of 2008, the United States Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a lower court ruling the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional in the landmark case <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>.
Gabrielle Giffords And Trayvon Martin Shootings
Gun control advocates had high hopes that reform efforts would have increased momentum in the wake of two tragic events that rocked the nation. In January of 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing six and injuring 13, including the congresswoman. Resulting attempts to push gun control legislation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">proved fruitless</a>, with neither proposal even succeeding in gaining a single GOP co-sponsor. More than a year after that shooting, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/trayvon-martin" target="_hplink">gunned down</a> by George Zimmerman in an event that some believed would bring increased scrutiny on the nation's Stand Your Ground laws. While there has been increasing discussion over the nature of those statutes, lawmakers were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">quick to concede</a> that they had little faith the event would effectively spur gun control legislation, thanks largely to the National Rifle Association's vast lobbying power. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">here</a>:
Colorado Movie Theater Shooting
In July of 2012, a heavily armed gunman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/aurora-shooting-movie-theater-batman_n_1688547.html" target="_hplink">opened fire on theatergoers</a> attending a midnight premiere of the final film of the latest Batman trilogy, killing 12 and wounding scores more. The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, allegedly carried out the act with a number of handguns, as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. Some lawmakers used the incident, which took place in a state with some of the laxest gun control laws, to bring forth legislation designed to place increased regulations on access to such weapons, but many observers, citing previous experience, were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/batman-shooting_n_1690547.html" target="_hplink">hesitant to say</a> that they would be able to overcome the power of the National Rifle Association and Washington gun lobby.